Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sundance Film Fest, Tues. & Wed (1/27-28), Post 2

A highlight of Tuesday the 27th at Sundance--after the "Shorts Program 3" (I love shorts at Sundance)--was certainly the premier of Songs My Brothers Taught Me (Zhao, 2015) attended by producer Forest Whitaker. I also had a chance to catch a midnight screening of the jocund western with Michael Fassbender, Slow West (Maclean, 2015).

Songs My Brothers Taught Me Director Chloé Zhao and Actors John Reddy and Jashaun St. John 
(I happily/randomly ran into the director and actors on the street for this pic)

Songs my Brothers Taught Me is a coming of age story about a brother and sister on a Lakota reservation. A film which took director Chloé Zhao four years from writing to release, it represents the tension between a strong desire to leave and an intimate connection to a landscape that makes departure nearly impossible. And if you want to witness a pitch-perfect ending, this film has it--a deft combination of voice-over and imagery of the wind moving dust over the land.

On Wednesday the 28th it was fun to be sitting nearby James Franco during Listen to Me Marlon (Riley, 2014), an outstanding documentary about the life of Marlon Brando. The film is narrated, incredibly, by Brando by using tapes the famous actor recorded during his lifetime. With archival research and images set into place, the film tells the story of Brando in a moving, lively way. It will certainly be well-received on Showtime, the film's distributor.

Don Verdean writers: Jared Hess, Jerusha Hess, and cast:
Sam Rockwell, Amy Ryan, Jemaine Clement, Danny McBride, Will Forte, Leslie Bibb  

The 28th also included the incisive mainland Chinese documentary The Chinese Mayor (Hao Zhou, 2014), which I would like to devote a full post to at a later time, and concluded with Don Verdean (Hess, 2015), which was somewhere between a comedy and a drama, but always marvelous when Jemaine Clement was on the screen.
Getting an autograph from Writer/Director Rodrigo Garcia of
Last Days in the Desert

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